Today I read John 18 and 19 as part of my daily reading. It’s where John tells the story of the cruicifixion. It strikes me how broken John is about the story. Remember, he is writing this a couple of decades later, and most importantly, he knows how the story ends. He knows the crucifixion is not the final act. But when he tells the story, you can feel the pain flowing through his pen. He travels back to Golgotha, standing and watching his Lord and friend die. He hears the soldiers voices, relives the uncertainty of it all, the fear that coursed through him. The agony of wanting to save Jesus, and being unable to do anything to save Him or save himself. The brokeness, the heartbreak, the desolate fear of it all comes back and washes over him. You can hear it, feel it, see it in how John tells his story.
I want to love Jesus like that. I want to break every time I retell the story of how my King died for me. I want to be so tuned in to His suffering and sacrifice that I can’ t help but be moved by revisiting Golgotha. I want to love my Lord so deeply that even the end of the story is not enough to wash out the pain of the middle. I want to be like John, the one Jesus loved.
Instead I let it become a story in my past. It takes on a mythological feel, an oft told story that has become well worn and over rehearsed. I can run through it as an explanation more than an event. It was never meant to be a proof in and of itself. It is Jesus’ story, the reality of what He chose for me. When I forget that, when I become numb to the exorbitant cost and pain, I do well to travel. I must travel back, stand on the hillside over Jerusalem and look up into His eyes. Those eyes who saw it all, and loved us all, and called us as deep calls to deep. The eyes of love that day were bloodshot, swollen, bruised, and tired. Yet they were full of love. When I stand again on that hill, and look up, I remember. I am transfixed, transformed, and translated to another time and place. The place where love laid itself down and died, for me.
May I never forget how to go back there.